12 Can’t-Miss Tips and Things You Need to Know Before Buying Your First K-Pop Album!
K-pop fangirling or fanboying is a very colorful journey, and every K-pop superfan knows that! It’s fun, but if you’re taking it seriously, it’s also financially expensive! Why the latter? Because live concerts exist! Paid online content exists. Paid voting exists. Merch exists! Lightsticks exist! Last but not the least, K-pop albums exist!
What are those things? They are the stuff that makes this fangirling quest even more exciting, and at the same time challenging because you need to have and spend money for these. Aside from being able to just support them from afar and through free online content, K-pop fans wish to have these first-hand, real experiences and fan-exclusive items too. And among those that have been mentioned above, let’s focus on K-pop albums!
Before K-pop idols became well-known in their variety of non-music-related talents, such as painting, cooking, gaming, playing sports, and making people laugh, they’re first and foremost singers, musicians, and dancers (except for bands). They create songs they sing and dance to and make them popular and well-received, making fans happy and attracting new fans to the family. Needless to say, these songs are inside their albums! And these K-pop albums are definitely so well-loved by fans all across the world.
For new fans and even for old fans who are buying their first K-pop album:
Now, if you’re a new K-pop fan who has never experienced buying anything fangirling/fanboying-related yet, know that buying K-pop albums is one of the things that all fandoms rave about! Some just buy. Others collect. Some sell. Others purchase for their faves’ acclaim. Others order for their own happiness!
You might feel the want to buy yours, too, as you start fangirling/fanboying for real! And more often than not, the dilemma is huge and nerve-racking for new K-pop fans who are buying an album for the very first time. That’s because you have a lot of questions that if not answered, you won’t really be able to buy or to get the most out of your purchase.
To avoid a wrong and regretful experience when buying your first K-pop album, you have to be well-informed about the twists and turns of it! This is for new fans, but even old fans who are about to buy their first K-pop album can benefit from this list.
Here are 12 Can’t-miss tips and things you need to know before buying your first K-pop album. Read on!
1 – K-pop albums are generally not cheap.
Let’s begin the list by not sugarcoating that K-pop albums are generally not cheap. Yes, that’s right. More often than not, they’re expensive. Depending on the quality, designs, inclusions of the albums, and on the celebrity management company of the artists, their albums can be more or less pricey compared to other K-pop idols.
Of course, K-pop artists and their production teams work so hard for every comeback they have wherein they release an album, thus these items are indeed not low-cost. Furthermore, if you pre-order them and get pre-order benefits, except that they’re indeed expensive.
2 – Buy it ONLY if you can afford it and if you have extra money for it.
K-pop albums are mostly costly, but well, yes, the prices may be subjectively so-so or budget-friendly for those who are rich or have a surplus budget. However, if you’re still a student, or even if you’re employed yet with more urgent and important real-life priorities, remember that you don’t need to buy a K-pop album. Buy it only if you can afford it and if you have extra money for it.
It feels so great and makes you proud when you own albums as a K-pop fan, but you can still be called a fan as long as you love and support them, even when buying albums is beyond your financial capacity.
3 – You don’t really need all the album versions.
Nowadays, when K-pop artists come back and release their albums, each album has at least two versions. Some groups have a version per member, and that’s just mind-blowing. The same music and the same people are inside the versions of a particular K-pop artist’s album, but the difference is found in the concepts. Most apparently, the colors of the versions differ, and there’s a specific name for each.
The common dilemma of K-pop fans is choosing a version to buy. The solution that many think of and do is ordering all the versions. However, keep in mind that you don’t really need all of them. Some K-pop idols even tell their fans not to buy all versions if they can’t because reality-wise, there are more important things to buy than these. One version is enough, especially if that’s the quantity you can afford and if you don’t have ample storage space at home for them.
4 – Carefully look for and list down trustworthy local online shops.
Online shops have boomed in this age of technology. If you’re planning to buy your first K-pop album, one of the struggles is looking for a local online store you can trust. Do this carefully. Make a list of credible online K-pop merch and album stores. Best if they’re legally permitted and registered businesses. After jotting them down, follow the next number.
4 – Wisely compare prices while considering the inclusions.
Among the online K-pop shops you’re eyeing, wisely compare prices. Beware of shops that sell albums for overpriced rates. Often, newbies in K-pop spending get victimized by unreasonable prices, but they don’t even find out until they start looking into more shops and comparing prices.
Moreover, consider the album’s inclusions for the price that a store offers. If it’s too budget-friendly, it might have incomplete inclusions as the downside. Some might be unsealed or slightly damaged as well, so meticulously check over different prices from different shops.
5 – Physical stores offer higher rates.
If you’re not confident about online shopping of your K-pop album and are going to buy from a physical store, take note that they offer higher rates compared to online stores. That’s because they sell on-hand albums besides the fact that they’re occupying a physical space.
6 – You may buy directly from official K-pop stores, but they’re very expensive for international fans.
There are South Korea-based official K-pop stores that are authorized to directly release K-pop albums. You may directly buy from them and get astounding benefits, however, if you’re an international K-pop fan, these albums become more expensive than they already are. This is most particularly when you’re having it delivered to your house in a different country.
What makes it like that? International plus local shipping fees. The ISF can get more pricey than the album itself. All in all, it can punch a hole in your pocket even with just a single album purchase.
7 – Pre-ordered K-pop albums arrive after a few months for normal ETA.
There is what you call ETA or the expected time of arrival of K-pop albums you order. Unless you live in South Korea or probably very near it, your pre-ordered K-pop albums will arrive after a few months if you order them under normal ETA. Around 2-3 months is the normal ETA for most countries.
That’s because pre-ordered albums aren’t yet released by the K-pop artists unless it’s their official comeback or release date. Before your album reaches your house, there are various shipping standards and points it passes through, and that’s another reason why you’ll have to wait long.
8 – Direct purchase from official stores is the key to joining fan signing events.
It’s a dream of every K-pop fan to attend a fan sign event by his/her favorite idols, but how is it achievable? By winning raffles after directly purchasing albums from official stores. Every single album you buy counts as an entry to the raffle. You can buy just one piece and win if you get lucky, however, more often than not, fans who buy in a bulk win since they get more chances of winning through their multiple entries.
9 – You may buy signed K-pop albums, but of course, they’re more pricey than regular ones.
Fans who join and win fan signing events automatically get their K-pop albums signed by the artists.
But if winning is extremely difficult for you, buying a signed K-pop album is possible. Although quantity is limited, if you work hard to find unofficial shops selling signed albums, even second-hand, you can get one for yourself. Just remember that they’re more pricey than unsigned albums basically because they were held and signed by the artists themselves!
10- You should have a safe space to store it at home.
Be accountable when you’re buying your first K-pop album. Make sure you have a safe space where you can store it at home, or else, it will become an obstruction, and you will fail to take care of it properly.
11 – Save up money for it if you really want it.
As mentioned earlier, K-pop albums aren’t cheap, so buy them only if you can afford them. If you really want it, decently save up money for it. Don’t mindlessly borrow money from your friends just for your first K-pop album. Don’t force your parents to buy it for you, too, because it’s not a necessity. Don’t do anything bad and unlikely just to earn money. Save money wisely and decently if you want to have a K-pop album.
You have read the detailed list of tips and things that you should clearly know and remember before actually purchasing your first K-pop album. Be sure that you understand them all to avoid spending more than you should or getting less than what you should. You can’t let your emotions get ahead of your buying decisions, or else, you will fail to get one or fail to find the best stores for you.
The first K-pop album purchase is always the hardest, especially when you don’t know who to ask for buying tips, so may this article be of huge help to you and to your K-pop mutuals! Don’t forget to share this post to help other fans who are about to buy their first K-pop album too!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Nicole Ann Pore, from the Philippines, is the writer of this article.